Ragle gearing up for first season at Schreiner

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Former Panther Ryan Ragle struts off the field in patriotic catcher’s gear during his final season at Liberty Hill. Ragle is now a freshman on the baseball team at Schreiner University. (Alex Rubio File Photo)

Former Panther Ryan Ragle struts off the field in patriotic catcher’s gear during his final season at Liberty Hill. Ragle is now a freshman on the baseball team at Schreiner University. (Alex Rubio File Photo)

By MIKE SCHOEFFEL

For Liberty Hill High School graduate Ryan Ragle, there is at least one major difference between high school and college baseball.

“We run a lot more,” he said. “But the way our practice is run — and the drills we do — is similar to Liberty Hill, just an hour or two longer, and more intense.”

Ragle is in his freshman season with the baseball program at Schreiner University, a private liberal arts school in Kerrville with an enrollment of 1,110. He’s in the process of gearing up for the season opener — his first college game — against East Texas Baptist on Feb. 3, mainly by “focusing on conditioning, as of right now.” The Mountaineers finished last season 12-28, but will open with six consecutive home games, giving them a chance at a fast start in 2017.

“I believe it will be a great opportunity to play at a field we are used to and an environment we’re used to,” said Ragle. “It’ll be a good step toward starting a great season.”

Schreiner, a member of NCAA Division III’s Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC), will play 24 regular season games this season, in addition to the California Classic Tournament in Whittier, California from March 11-14. The Mountaineers will have only two other games outside the state of Texas during the regular season: a weekend series at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana on March 17-18.

The annual SCAC tournament — the first round of postseason play — is slated for April 28-20.

Ragle, primarily a catcher in high school, said it was still unclear how head coach Ryan Brisbin plans to utilize him during the next three-plus months. The Schreiner website lists Ragle as a catcher/infielder, and he said, “We’re still all competing for spots on the team. Whoever plays the best week-to-week will be the player that takes the field on game day.”

Ragle was a four-year member of the Liberty Hill High School baseball program. He played in 24 games for the Panthers his senior season and collected a .344 on-base percentage. He’s taken some of the lessons he learned under head coach Mike Kristan in high school — including how to “be humble with wins and keep your head up when you lose” — to Kerrville, where he’s hoping to help the Mountaineers earn their first winning season in more than a decade.

“I expect that we will really mesh as a whole team and be a team to be taken seriously this season,” he said. “Personally, I just want to contribute to the team’s success any way I can.”

Though baseball has been a life-long love for Ragle, he takes just as much pride in academics. He received the Dean Scholarship, which will cover $13,000 per year throughout his college career, after graduating high school with a grade point average greater than 3.7 and an SAT score over 1100.

Ragle was academic all-district selection during his senior season at Liberty Hill and is currently in the three-year mechanical engineering program at Schreiner. He plans on transferring to Texas A&M, Baylor or North Texas to finish out his degree.

Before he moves on to the next phase of his life, however, he has some business to take care of on the baseball field at Schreiner.

“Before I graduate,” he said. “I would love to be a part of a team that is remembered.”

Even if that means he has to run a little bit more than he’s used to.

Sports@LHIndependent.com

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